Service with a smile

Tired of being caught in customer-service hell? Me too. But after suffering through endless encounters with the labyrinthine recorded messages, offshore call centers, and call-waiting hell that pass for customer service nowadays, I had a pleasant surprise.

When I phoned Con Edison, New York City’s gas-and-electric utility, with a question about my bill, to my astonishment, the recorded menu led me straight to a live customer-service rep, who answered on the first ring! His courtesy never wavered as he listened to my rambling query and patiently explained my bill. There was none of the baffling double-talk, sudden hang-ups, or “You’ll have to talk to my supervisor” that often mark those calls. 

So much time is wasted in futile efforts to communicate with businesses that are supposedly servicing our needs. Why don’t more companies realize that cutting down on customer service isn’t the way to cut costs—or build brand loyalty?

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